News and events

News and events

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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway.

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Sunflower Court's favourite therapy dog Miley retires

Miley the dog at her retirement party - her owner holds a certificate and flowers

At the grand old age of 12 (108 in Human years) Miley, one of our much-loved therapy dogs, has retired to enjoy time relaxing at home.

Miley and her owner Tracey have been visiting Sunflower Court since 2019 and on 22 August 2023 NELFT celebrated Miley’s retirement. There were flowers and cards of thanks from the staff - Miley received a certificate and Tracey brought cakes for the staff and patients (Miley did manage to steal one!). 

Tracy told us more about Miley and her breed and this is what she said:

“Miley is a 60kg Newfoundland. The breed is actually a water rescue breed - they are amazing swimmers very strong. They can pull a small boat! They are sometimes trained to jump from helicopters into the sea to rescue people. They have a very brave, loyal, gentle nature and they are amazing with children.”

Tracy decided to register Miley as a Pets As Therapy dog due to her gentle nature:

“I just felt like this would be a positive way to give something to people that need this kind of therapy. To share this wonderful creature that I have the pleasure of calling my girl.”

Tracey explains her and Miley’s experience at Sunflower Court as 'absolutely amazing' and said the staff have all been supportive, kind and welcoming. When asked if she had any special memories, Tracey shared the following:

“I have so many wonderful memories! The things that stand out for me is the happiness on patients faces when they first meet Miley. Almost all of the regular visitors have learnt to do tricks with Miley - getting her to speak, give paw and nose touches on their hands. Even patients that have been unsure of her at first have always been won over by her calmness. I have always been overwhelmed by how kind and loving they all are towards her - it's such a beautiful thing to watch, some patients are really missing their own pets and I think Miley helped a little.”

This year, Miley was nominated for an Animal Star Award in the category of Animal Hero. She has made it through to the finals and winners will be announced at an awards night on 11 of November 2023. Her nomination was made due to not only the work she does as Pet Therapy, but also the work she does with other dogs. Miley helps frightened dogs to feel safe and secure, helping their owners gain confidence - what a star!

Our thanks go to Tracey for offering her time volunteering in Sunflower Court with Miley.

Our last visit was lovely. We will really miss the staff and patients at Sunflower Court. It has been the most wonderful experience for me and I’m 100% Miley feels the same - she always had a waggy tail and a smile as we approached the building and always left with a frown and a 10 minute walk (sulking) back to the car.”

For anyone interested in signing up their pet as a therapy animal, please register your interest with where your pets will be assessed for their suitability. For more information please email

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